Interview: Bachelorette

Annabel Alpers bids farewell to the Bachelorette moniker and talks of a collaborative future.

New Zealand native Annabel Alpers aka Bachelorette recorded her last album in as far flung places as Libya to remote country homes. When Drum get hold of her, she’s walking back from the vegetable store in Brooklyn, her ‘sort-of’ new home.

“I’ve got a base in Brooklyn,” she explains. “I’ve been touring the U.S. and Europe quite regularly for the last year and a half. I’ve been travelling so much that I haven’t been in the same place for longer than two months at a time. You could sort of say that I’m living here.”

She’s recently been enjoying some downtime after her extensive musical travels and the April release of her third record, the self-titled Bachelorette. Alpers can see both the pros and cons of her admittedly odd lifestyle.

“It’s a pretty crazy lifestyle,” she reflects. “You might have a couple of months off but you can’t really do that much in two months and then you’re back on the road again. It’s a weird lifestyle. It’s fun to check out new places. I went to Eastern Europe on my last European tour and went to places that I never would have checked out if I wasn’t playing music, so I can’t complain really.”

Touring gets more complicated when you’re a one-woman show too. Though it’s been a couple of years since Alpers was in town – her last visit being a series of support dates on the 2009 Animal Collective tour – anyone who has seen her live knows of her complex technical setup. With music that is as much based on raw emotion as it is on electronic noises, there’s a tenuous balance to strike when reproducing Bachelorette songs live.

“I try to do as much as I can live, so that it’s different every time I play and so that it’s a live experience for the audience rather than having prerecorded tracks, which I’ve had to use a bit more in the past,” notes Alpers. “I like the challenge of giving it life and it’s just the nature of the act that it’s a solo act, I can’t really imagine playing Bachelorette music with other people. I tried it once and it just felt a bit strange, getting other people to play stuff that I’d already written. I decided that if I play music with other people I’d prefer to do it collaboratively. I’m enjoying touring solo and the challenges that come with it.”

Since the release of Bachelorette, Alpers has been taking stock and it seems a change is afoot. Before she returns to Australia she’s taking a step back and relaxing a little.

“At the moment I’m taking a break between tours. I got back from a tour of the US and Europe recently, and it seems to take longer for me to recover everytime. I’m working on getting some new songs happening with my new set up live and taking it easy really. Checking out some cultural attractions in New York, being a bit of a tourist I suppose.”

It seems that Alpers is preparing to put Bachelorette on the back burner, if not completely bid it farewell, noting that she’s ready to explore other musical avenues, especially with other inspiring musicians.

“This album that I just did, I felt pretty strongly that that was the last time I wanted to work in that way, work solo. I want to work on other people’s music and also collaborate with other musicians,” she explains. “I don’t have anything lined up yet. But I don’t think I’ll be doing the solo thing for a while.”

“I feel like I’ve explored as much as I want to and lots of different ways of recording and making songs, and I want to stretch myself in other areas, with other musicians and not just fall into patterns of working the same way. It just felt like it was time to move on from the Bachelorette project.”

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